Two sophomore cadets in Mary Baldwin University’s Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL) have earned the coveted Badge for Military Proficiency awarded by the Bundeswehr, the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Corporals Tatiana Western and Kimberly Denny are among the first three women in the Marshall-New Market Battalion at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) to be recognized by the German military.
Cadets in the Marshall-New Market Battalion, which trains Army ROTC cadets at four institutions — VMI, Mary Baldwin, Washington and Lee University, and Southern Virginia University — competed in multiple athletic events during a two-day period in November. It was the first time that female cadets have attempted to complete the tough standards required to earn the badge.
Reflecting on outstanding VWIL alumnae, Denny noted that she might not be one of the first female cadets awarded the badge if more of her predecessors had attempted the feat. “I am sure some would have been successful and earned the badge as well,” she said. “Hopefully in the upcoming years, more VWIL cadets will compete for the badge.”
The German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency is one of the few foreign proficiency badges authorized for wear on U.S. military uniforms. American soldiers value this award because the requirements are extremely challenging. To receive the award, not only must a soldier earn a recommendation from his commanding officer and also be first aid certified, he must also demonstrate a high level of physical fitness through an elaborate physical test. The assessment consists of a 3,000-meter run, 100-meter sprint, 200-meter swim, shot put, and long or high jump. The test is completed within a set amount of time and based on age and gender. Competitors must also show excellent marksmanship with a pistol, and be able to complete a 12-kilometer ruck march.
When presenting the badges to Western and Denny, Brigadier General Michael Bissell, VWIL commandant, told the cadets, “Tatiana and Kimberly, congratulations and what a great honor. I am very proud of you and what you have accomplished.”